Glossary of terms used at the
Institute and at the Surnateum
These definitions are valid within this specific context.
Complete mastery of the concepts underlying these terms is essential
in order to understand this site.
- B - C - D -
E - F - G - H
- I - J - K -
L - M - N - O
- P - Q - R -
S - T - U - V
- W - X - Y -
Aranda, Pitanjajara, Jukurrpa ): The term used by Australian
aborigines to signify 'dreamtime', 'dreaming' or simply
'dream', and the foundation of the Aboriginal
mythic conception. A time when the world was created by the
ancestral spirits who used the essence of life (kurkurpa) to fashion the world.
Alcheringa is an eternal world; it exists outside
ordinary time and space,
but is nevertheless adjacent to the 'real' world.
'Dreaming' in this sense is not to be confused with
the dreams we have when we sleep. Dreamings
are complex and can be many things: a metaphysical fabric, a cosmogony,
a myth, a fable, a material and spiritual creation, a cultural truth. Alcheringa is all
of that; each
view is just as valid as any other.
The creatures found in dreamings are the sacred symbols of aboriginal
families. The Sensitive first learns to enter Alcheringa in order
to develop his capabilities. Of course, the first creature
a Sensitive encounters
in a dreaming is his totem
spirit in the form in which the Sensitive
is travelling. The Alcheringa room at the Institute is mainly used
by neophytes and Storytellers;
a trained Sensitive is always in a dreaming
state. The dreaming
is a 'dimensional portal' providing
a gateway to the creative potential, the original
memory and total knowledge. It is a doorway to the sacred.
(also anancitide or syrrochite):
According to the Dictionnaire
des Superstitions populaires (Dictionary of Folk Superstitions),
compiled by Father Migne (Paris, 1856),
anancithide is a "sort of ingredient which
magicians and sorcerers were said to
use to keep demons they invoked at their beck and call for as long as they wished."
It is a magic
stone fallen from Heaven or spit out by Hell
and used to evoke demons.
Vitrified by the fires of Hell, it is strangely reminiscent of the
Black Stone of the Kaaba and seems to have come from a meteorite. Betyle
(standing stone) comes from Betulos and from Beth-el, house of God.
The rare specimen of anancithide at the Surnateum is concealed within
a silver Arab Koran stand.
Ancestors: All those who have gone before
us and who have now rejoined the eternity of the dream.
They have always - in all times and in all places - been consulted
through dreams. In ancient Egypt, special rooms were set aside near
temples and sanctuaries to consult the gods during sleep. Spiritism
offered more or less the same thing. In vaudou,
the leader of the Guédés,
the spirits of the deceased, is Baron Samedi. His wife is Maman
Art: Like the alchemists and occultists
of centuries past, the artist works
with raw materials
that are constantly evading his grasp and in relation to which he
must find himself. The
artist works on himself via a fiction that is his art, a dream within
the Dream. Unlike the occultist, the artist tries to enrich
the phenomenal world through his work, to bring beauty to the universe.
He therefore opens himself up to the world and listens to it. At
the Foundation for the Exploration of Dreams, practising an art
is essential so as not to withdraw into a schizophrenic frenzy.
That which is received during Alcheringa must be rendered in the
phenomenal world. However, artists disturb and upset a
great many people who refuse to acknowledge
the artist's very right to exist. Unlike the
civil servant, the artist is unique and irreplaceable.
Bardo of the dream state
(Tibetan bardo 'interim state'): The lamas of Tibet distinguish
six types of intermediate state: the bardo of birth , the bardo
of the dream state, the bardo of the meditative state, the bardo
of the moment of death; the bardo of supreme reality and the bardo
The bardo of the dream state, used intensively at the Institute,
is an illusory state (dream) within another illusory state (reality).
Once mastered, this concept allows the Dream traveller to create
a passageway between Alcheringa and the
phenomenal world through which he can travel.
In this state, certain experiences and encounters become critically
important for the Dreamer. Certain encounters can be deadly. Most
of the Hauntiques in the Surnateum come
from Alcheringa, but only a trained Sensitive
can understand this...
Bibliophile Jacob: The
book lover P.L. Jacob (actually Paul Lacroix, 1807-1884),
curator of the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, publisher of Rabelais,
Corneille, Cent Nouvelles and L'Heptaméron, preface writer
for the works of Shakespeare, biographer of Molière and Restif
de la Bretonne, historian, novelist, children's storyteller, a teller
of weird tales and more...
According to one anecdote, Paul Lacroix loved
finding works that
had been stolen from the Bibliothèque Nationale, and would
send these books to his Curator, accompanied with acerbic notes
and useful recommendations for preventing theft.
Bokor: In Vaudou,
a hougan (priest) who is an adept of
black magic who has made an engajan
(promise) with a loa (spirit) of the Petro or Zobop family
for evil ends. It can control a ti-bon-ange,
a bodyless soul, or direct an
astral zombie to pursue his victim. This spirit is also called duppy.
(Mexico, zotz is the Mayan word for 'bat'; Camazotz
is the bat of death.): Of Mayan origin,
the cult of Camazotz dates back to 100 BC among
the Zapoteca Indians and is an integral part of their agrarian myths.
Camazotz would descend to earth when the corn was planted. Camazotz
was a half-man, half-vampire divinity who terrified the peoples
of Central America. The Quiches of Guatemala
called him Zotzilaha Chamalcan, their god of fire. In the Popol
Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, Zotzilaha does not represent the
divinity, but rather the cave where Camazotz lives.
In the mysteries of Xibalba, Hunahpu and Xbalangue (the heroes of
the second book of the Popol Vuh) fight Camazotz, the lord of the
bats. Armed with a large sword, Xibalba
attacks and kills them. The human soul is sometimes represented
by a vampire, because like that creature, the soul is blind and
deprived of light from a metaphysical sun. Like the vampire, the
depraved, miserly soul must feed on prey
close to it in order to survive.
The cult of Camazotz, like most Mayan cults, always included offerings
of blood. Representations of this divinity can be found in southern
Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and even Costa Rica. Apparently, the
cult continues today.
The bat associated with Camazotz is either the common vampire bat
(Desmodus rotundus) or the false vampire bat (Vampyrum
spectrum). In 1988 a type of vampire
bat 25% larger than Desmodus rotundus was reportedly sighted
in Venezuela. Its name - Desmondus draculae - speaks for
Canari voodoo: Vessel
containing the soul of a Zombie. In Haiti,
the souls of the dead are found in the sea that surrounds the island.
In certain Petro, Bizango and Zobop rites, when the soul (the Ti-Bon-Ange,
Astral Zombie or Duppy) is from a particularly powerful being, the
vessel becomes damp during the invocation. In the
most extreme cases, it
fills with water: salt water when the soul is associated with the
sea, and fresh water in certain rare cases.
Pseudonym of Count Louis Hamon (1860-1936), Cheiro was one of the
most celebrated palmists of his time. He wrote many works on divination
and claimed that his clients included Edward VII, Queen Alexandra,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Lord Carnavon. He predicted the abdication
of Edward VIII and his romance with Miss Simpson. He is associated
with the first contemporary recounting of the mummy's curse, and
reportedly warned Lord Carnavon of his impending doom in Egypt.
Cheiro claimed to own a mummified hand from which he drew his gifts
as a palm reader. The mummified hand bears a certain resemblance
to the Talismain, an amulet kept at the Surnateum.
Chöd (Tibet: cutting through
the ego): Chöd, whose origins
are deeply rooted in Bönpo shamanism, is one of the most dangerous
rites in the voyage through the Dream World. In this ritual, the
follower goes to an isolated spot in the mountains, preferably to
the place where the dismembered bodies of the dead are left to be
devoured by predators (a common burial custom in rugged, rocky areas).
The ritual is complex and includes dances, mantras, music (played
on a drum [damaru] and a thighbone trumpet [kanglig]). Ritual objects
are used: a dorje, a bell, a miniature tent, a sceptre surmounted
with a trident and a small banner. A description of the rite follows:
"At the beginning of the rite, the adept - in the form of a
certain female deity - dances the dance that destroys erroneous
beliefs. Identifying his passions and desires with his own body,
he offers it to the Dakinis as a feast. He then visualises it as
a huge, fat and succulent corpse and - mentally withdrawing - he
watches the deity Vajra-Yogini cut off his head to use as an enormous
cauldron into which she tosses large chunks of his flesh and bones.
Next, while intoning words of power, he transforms the offering
into pure amrita (nectar) and invites the various orders of supernatural
beings to come and devour him. Fearing that they will become impatient,
he asks them not to hesitate in consuming the raw offering instead
of wasting time cooking it. Moreover, he dedicates the merit of
his sacrifice to the beings who devour him and to all beings in
general, wherever they are. (...) All of this must take place in
a solitary and impressive place, and the adept must ensure that
he follows the rites perfectly so as to keep himself safe and sound
amidst a horrible horde of blood-drinking demons. If he is skilled
in visualisation, he will gaze upon these creatures and see his
body cut into pieces by Vajra-Yogini."
The Chöd rite is extremely violent; Evans-Wentz reports that
many shamans did not survive it. Some experiences pursued by those
in the upper echelons of the Institute are similar to the Chöd.
Hungarian shaman Yoska Soos initiated the Collector into this rite,
followed by shaman Gérard de Backer, who is now dead. In
Tibet, the system of meditation called Chöd may be practised
by lay followers, Nagpas or monks. The aim of the Chöd is to
develop generosity, dispel fear and make attachment redundant.
Certain keys, symbols of the passageway between two worlds, are
used by Sensitives to determine whether or not an object or place
is haunted. When laid flat in the palm of the hand, the key naturally
begins to vibrate in the presence of the 'magic charge' emanating
from the object in question.
According to many Sensitives, it is more accurate than a pendulum
since it is not as subject to the unconscious movements of the body.
Unlike the sorcerer's wand or the divining rod, the key cannot be
used to find underground currents or ley lines; it can only detect
if a haunting is present.
Certain Sensitives wear a gold, silver or bronze key around
their neck to symbolise their status as a Dream Traveller. The Collector
wears a gold key on a chain. The key is penetrated by the silver
body of a Dreamer. This piece of jewellery is based on an image
from a painting by Jérôme Bosch.
'a chance occurrence of events remarkable either for being simultaneous
or for apparently being connected' (Collins English Dictionary).
Explanation commonly given by dyed-in-the-wool rationalists on the
subject of strange and inexplicable phenomena. This explanation
is just as irrational as the phenomenon in question, but it seems
to comfort rationalists. Often used in conjunction with such terms
as 'mass hysteria' and 'mass hallucination' by
speaking, all rationalists come up with the same answer when they
fail to understand certain phenomena: "Maybe it's just a coincidence!"
When written with a capital 'C', refers to the successive owners
of the Collection. The Collector also runs the Foundation for the
Exploration of Dreams, as well as detecting and training Sensitives.
The most amazing espionage system ever dreamed up by the Roman Catholic
Church. Only surpassed by the invention of the mobile phone and
the Internet. What else can we say!
When written with a capital 'C', refers to the individual responsible
for the collections at the Surnateum. On occasion he is called upon
to become the next Collector, but not always because he must first
master all the knowledge contained in the Liber Oneiromicon, the
'Book of the 7 Gateways of the Dream'. Doing so requires a good
30 years of in-depth study by a gifted individual.
Those who transmit knowledge, professional liars who tell the truth.
Storytellers train the young Sensitives at the Institute. Through
the art of telling stories, their form of education is free of any
and all dogmatism. They are the very essence of the Surnateum, its
raison d'être. They are also the first points of contact between
the world of the Surnateum and the world of the layman. Magicians
and masters of the spoken word, they are able to open the Gateway
to Alcheringa just enough for the non-initiates to catch a glimpse;
they can invoke the loas and the guédés and activate
the Hauntiques. An evening spent with a Storyteller from the Surnateum
is unforgettable. In fact, it is often at such evening get-togethers
that young Sensitives are discovered. Engager
(Crypto: hidden; zoology: science of the study of animals):
Science of hidden animals, mythical creatures and living fossils.
Term created by Bernard
Heuvelmans (see this name in the Department of Cryptozoology).
DSA: Acronym of the
Dyslexia Association, a charitable organisation set up by the
staff to help young Sensitives afflicted with dyslexia. The DSA
gratefully accepts any gifts.
of unity, the One who cannot be compared to anything. In all traditional
societies, this Principle is inaccessible and represents Totality,
the Number. Comparing God to the Devil or to anything at all is
simply absurd, for the Devil is a divine creation. God simply is,
and believing in his non-existence is meaningless, as is imagining
that he could be good or bad, male or female. God is at once unity,
multitude and nothingness. Olodumare, Gran Mêt, Allah - all
of these are names designating the Principle. Man is under the illusion
that he is separate from it, but that is etymologically impossible.
Our friend Dieudonné Kabongo thinks that God looks like Léopold
II, the former king of Belgium.
Dream Culture: Virtually all traditional
shamanist cultures are Dream Cultures: the Australian aborigines,
the Indians of North, South and Central America, the Tongouse, Mongol
and Siberian tribes in general, the peoples of Africa, the Senois
of Malaysia, the adepts of Haitian voodoo, the Polynesians, certain
tribes of Japan such as the Ainu - the list goes on and on. The
Hungarians have also had their shamans, which they call the Taltos.
These cultures are familiar with the power of Dreaming and view
it as a gateway to other worlds.
Capacity to be at one with the subject in question, to become him
(whether or not the subject is human). The Collector, the Curator
and the Caretaker of the Surnateum must possess this capacity
to a very high degree.
Investigator: As a member of the
Surnateum's research team, the Investigator must know several languages,
a good method of fighting or fleeing and be a master of the subtle
art of negotiation and disguise. A worthy heir of Roy Chapman Andrews,
Colonel Percy Fawcett and Leonid Kulkin, the Investigator is also
trained to spot fakes, counterfeits, forgeries and those who make
them. That is why he must learn the rudiments of conjuring, sleight
of hand and the art of forgery. There can be no doubt that the
most skilful Investigators at the Surnateum are the Tertons.
living outside the reality of the world in his own dream. The teacher
- who spent his childhood at school - will go back to school to
study in order to come back and teach at school. The teacher generally
lives a life surrounded by other teachers in a hermetically sealed,
sometimes unhealthy, universe. Not all teachers are useless - far
from it - but many of them have trouble making their superiors hear
them. Teachers are often very politically aware and are content
to simply regurgitate whatever programme they are given without giving
too much thought to the consequences of their actions. But we would
once again point out that this is not true of all teachers; some
are remarkable individuals indeed.
Etteila: In 1770
he published, under his real name -- Jean-François Alliette, a teacher
of mathematics -- a work entitled "Etteila ou la Manière
de se récréer avec un jeu de cartes" ("Etteila
- or How to Amuse Oneself with a Pack of Cards") in which he
claims that he is a "master of fortune-telling with cards".
The book describes the rules that he developed for using a 32-card
piquet pack . There can be no doubt that he is the inventor
of cartomancy. In 1772, Court de Gébelin wrote -- in his
book 'Primitive World' -- that tarot cards (also known as 'tharoth')
are the vestiges of the Book of Thoth from ancient Egypt. Etteila
was galvanised by this idea and set out to prove it. In 1783 he
published "La Manière de se récréer avec
le jeu de cartes nommé tarot" ("How to Amuse Oneself
with a Tarot Pack of Cards") in which he sets out the "key
to the 78 hieroglyphs found in the Book of Thoth, a work written
in the year 1828 of Creation, 171 years after the Deluge".
Etteila was the first professional cartomancer. After him, the most
famous fortune-teller who used cards was undoubtedly Mademoiselle
(Greek phantastikos 'capable of imagining'): 1. Said of a
literary, artistic or cinematographic work which describes the sudden
manifestation of the unreal and irrational into everyday reality.
2. Created by the imagination, fanciful.
Ambiguous borderline between the real and the unreal, this twilight
zone allows a society's mythological world to interfere with that
society, in one way or another. In traditional societies where the
link between everyday life and magic has not been broken, this gateway
is never closed and the fantastic is a constant presence, at least
from the Western point of view. In our rationalist societies, this
break with myth is reflected in a profusion of literature and films
featuring fairytale worlds and horror - most of the time merely
reflecting the death of the imagination and the liberation of unwholesome
fantasies. However, leading 'fantastic' authors still maintain the
key allowing them to pass from one universe to the other. Such authors
include Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft, E.T.A. Hoffman, Jean Ray, Michel
de Ghelderode, Thomas Owen, Bram Stoker, Gustav Meyrinck, Arthur
Machen and Oscar Wilde, all of whom had that visionary quality so
singularly lacking in the work of hacks who merely churn out potboilers.
Their works also had a major influence on the contemporary imagination.
Real or fake fairground monster, as featured in Tod Browning's celebrated
film 'Freaks'. Examples of freaks include dwarfs such as 'Tom Thumb',
giants such as Anna Shannon and Martin Van Buren Bates, an individual
born without legs (Freddy the Frog Boy), the hunchback of Notre
Dame, the Elephant Man, the Great Omi, the tattooed
man, living skeletons (Calvin Edson, Isaac Sprague and even Kate
Moss), grossly fat and hideously ugly individuals (e.g., Julia Shent,
who ended up stuffed and displayed in a case along with her baby)
and bearded ladies (such as Madam Clofullia).
Barnum sought out, created and employed many freaks in his circus.
Your mother-in-law is probably better described as a geek than a
Geek: Term designating
the most base and repugnant form of entertainment found in American
carnivals. Well below the freak in terms of status, the geek will
eat anything: snakes, mice, frogs and live chickens, rotten food
thrown by spectators while making revolting chewing sounds. The
geek was often presented as the wild man of Borneo or Tasmania.
Originally, he was in actual fact a hopeless drunk or junkie who
used the money from the carnival job to feed his habit. The most
famous geek ever was a woman by the name of Erika Shant.
Gorakh Nath: Divinity
in the Hindu pantheon. Literally: a person who has mastered his
senses (indriyas), in particular the vikritis, or negative aspects.
(Kaam - sexuality; Khrod - anger; Mad - ego; Lobh - greed; and Moh
- attachment to material things).
Provoking Gorakh Nath is always a bad idea.
Guinée/Guinen: The voodoo 'Paradise'
where the souls of the dead go. In Haiti, Guinen is found
under the sea surrounding the island. It comes from the word 'Guinée'
(Guinea), the land where voodoo originated. At the Institute, this
term represents the world of Spirits who can be consulted. It should
not be confused with Alcheringa, which represents the myth in which
the Sensitive will learn to travel without upsetting the Order.
(n., pl. Hauntiques): an
authentic haunted antique; the very essence of the objects housed
at the Surnateum.
A rare Dream object -- antique or otherwise -- bearing magic powers
that are obvious to Sensitives. The term is also used to describe
objects used to detect and/or combat certain entities. A Hauntique
can often be detected by the pernicious influence that it has on
the people around it. The Hauntique is a gateway object between
the Dream world and the ordinary world. As such, it sometimes allows
certain entities to cross in either direction through the fine veil
that separates these two worlds.
Hoodoo: form of voodoo combined with
American Indian magic, typical of the amazing blends found in the
United States. If you want to question an American voodoo follower
about his practices, then you must ask him: "Hoodoo you do?"
Nickname given by Sensitives to the Foundation for the Exploration
of Dreams (FED). The Institute is where Sensitives are trained.
At the Institute, the student learns how to master his gift, often
by practising an art, and how to live in an infinitely larger universe
than the wretchedly confined and artificial world that is ordinary
reality. Training at the Institute consists of nine levels of knowledge,
often taking a lifetime to acquire. Without revealing any secret
teachings, it can be said that the training is based on travels
in Alcheringa. The first two levels also include the techniques
of conjuring and prestidigitation, sport, logic games, imaginative
literature and a general alertness to and awareness of the strange.
In the third level, the art of Language and Incantations is taught.
Starting with the fifth level, the student has enough competence
to be a Storyteller and can begin passing on part of his knowledge.
The Institute is not a substitute for school, rather it supplements
and corrects what is learned at school, since academic subjects
are often far too directed.
an elementary form of Sensitive. The Intuitive can test his abilities
by trying to gain entry to the Secret Department. Generally speaking,
the Intuitive rarely gets lost when driving, is able to easily find
misplaced objects and can resolve problems faster than a normal
Hallyday: See Zombie
Karl (Vienna 1868-USA 1943): Winner
of the Nobel Prize for Medicine (Physiology) in 1930. Studied at
the University of Vienna, graduating in 1891. He spent his entire
life researching blood mechanisms. He supplemented his training
in chemistry at Hantzsch laboratories near Zürich, Emil Fischer
laboratories in Würzburg and Bamberger laboratories in Munich.
Returning to Vienna, he resumed his work as an assistant to Max
von Gruber at the Hygiene Institute in Vienna. From 1898 to 1908,
he held the post of assistant at the Department of Pathological
Anatomy at the University of Vienna, headed up by Professor Weichselbaum.
Weichselbaum secured Landsteiner's subsequent appointment at the
Wilhelmina hospital in Vienna. He discovered blood groups between
1901 and 1903. After moving to the United States, he became Professor
Emeritus at the Rockefeller Institute in 1939. He is thought to have
met his colleague 'Schlemihl' in 1899 at the Wilhelmina hospital.
(Inv. SBB/gm-56149: liber book; oneiros dream; ikon
image. Book of Dream Images, also known as the book of the 7 Gateways
of the Dream.): The Liber Oneiromicon
contains the knowledge and accounts of all the Collectors since
the start of the collection. Filled with handwritten notes, strange
texts, rare and precious documents and long-forgotten incantations,
this work is the key that makes it possible to activate the forms
of magic found at the Surnateum. Featuring seven chapters evoking
seven aspects of the Magician, it can only be read in its entirety
by the Curators and Collectors, and must be enriched by the Collectors.
"I discovered that, in the life of men who seek knowledge,
there are always seven secret doorways. I saw that there are always
seven magic formulas, that the devils are the same, secret books
are very similar and fallen angels are somewhat more numerous."
(Hugo Pratt, from Fable of Venice). The contents of the Liber
Oneiromicon also make it possible to read the past and future, to
prophesy, to evoke errant souls, to control the free will of individuals,
to detect Sensitives and to produce magic spells. The Surnateum
is merely a pale reflection of what the Liber contains. In a departure
from the normal procedure, some high-level Sensitives are authorised
to master one page from the Liber. Without this fundamental work,
there would be no purpose for either the Surnateum or the Institute
. The book can be read at various levels of understanding, making
it dangerous for the reader. Its title is reminiscent of the name
of H.P. Lovecraft's highly dubious Necronomicon - but that is pure
coincidence! In contrast with many magical pseudo-works, the Liber
Oneiromicon is not encoded - which means that reading it is even
Weapon used by SD (Search & Destroy) personnel. It simultaneously
directs precisely adjusted light waves, infrasound and ultrasound
at the target. Extremely destructive.
Lovett Edward (1852-1933):
A banker in the City of London and founder of the Folklore Society,
Edward Lovett devoted a large part of his life to studying and collecting
legends, superstitions and popular traditions from London's East
End. Not a particularly gullible man, he assiduously frequented
the flea markets and old markets of London in search of a rare piece.
By the end of his life, his collection had literally taken over
his home in Croydon and driven out his wife. He donated some of
the objects in his collection to the Cummings museum, including
the knob of a magician's staff dating from the 14th century, a pinbox
worn as a fetish by sailors and reputed to protect them from drowning,
a cow's heart bristling with nails used to find out who tried to
poison cattle at a dairy in Bethnall.
He is thought to be the model who inspired the first Collector.
(Lat. magia, from Greek): Term
derived from the Magi, priests from Ahura Mazda in ancient Persia.
Group of practices aimed at wielding invisible forces for one's
own purposes. Magic makes use of the principle of analogical reasoning
whereby colours, scents, symbols, etc. are compared to each other
- unlike science, which operates through syllogisms. The staff of
the Surnateum and the Institute use both forms of reasoning simultaneously
because one does not necessary rule out the other. The trip through
Alcheringa can be viewed as a magical experience by an independent
Maqdas: Saint of
saints in an Ethiopian church. Place in which is hidden the holy
relic specific to the church in question. The maqdas is only accessible
to the priest holding the highest rank in the hierarchy.
The 'Number' has nothing to do with arithmetic, but with arithmology,
a metaphysical mathematics. Fundamental structure of the universe.
Only the most advanced mathematicians or Sensitives at level 8 or
higher who have passed the trial of the Abyss can understand this
concept. The same holds true for the book of the Pentateuch (or
Torah), the fundamental concept of the Cabbala, Islam and Coptic
magic. It is most often the key by which divination systems, talismans
and amulets operate. Magic squares are grids for querying the Number
via the pantacle.
Originally from Urgyen in Afghanistan, Guru Padmasambhava travelled
to Tibet in the mid-8th century at the request of King Trisong Deutsan
(742-797) to subjugate the demons hindering the construction of
the Samye monastery. He subjugated the forces of evil, i.e. the
shamans of the Bön traditions, who were considered to be demons,
and introduced Tantric Buddhism. He founded the Nyingmapa tradition.
He is also known under the name of Guru Rinpoche. In collaboration
with the great BodhisattvaShantarakshita, Guru Rinpoche then built
the Samye monastery, which became the leading centre for Buddhist
teaching and literature.
The first adepts of Guru Rinpoche were renowned for their spiritual
accomplishments: Namkhe Nyingpo travelled on beams of light, Yeshe
Tsogyel could bring the dead back to life, Kawa could read the minds
of others and Jana Kumara demonstrated miraculous powers.
Paranormal phenomenon: A poetic experience
which crosses the path of a rationalist. Since a rationalist feels
that such phenomena cannot be explained, he generally offers a prize
of one million dollars to prove that they do not exist. The artist cannot even conceive that there might
be anything abnormal about such experiences, because he lives with
them day and night. A true scientist can often be compared to a
poet because he tries to learn practical lessons from his vision
of the world. In this regard, see the comments on Bernard Heuvelmans.
Purba, Tibetan nail): A dagger
used to destroy demons. Introduced into Tibetan Buddhism by Padmasambhava,
it is a symbol of the transmutation of negative forces and plays
a central role in the system of meditation handed down by Yeshe
Tsogyel, the consort of the Master. The origin of the Phurba is
associated with a long Tantra (writing) presented by Padmasambhava
at the start of his voyage to Tibet. A creature personified in Phurba
plays a major role as a yidam (divinity of meditation) of the Sakyapa
and Nyingmapa schools.
(1881-1948): The UK's most famous ghost
hunter, he was also known as an expert in psychic research. He scientifically
explored the psychic capabilities of certain mediums, a study which
included the tricks of the fakirs such as fire walking and the Indian
rope trick, as well as ritual magic, stigmata and psychic photography.
Trained in the techniques of sleight of hand, he exposed phoney
mediums. He revived the Ghost Club (which disappeared in 1916) and
founded his own organisation: the National Laboratory for Psychical
Research, to which the Institute bears a remarkable resemblance.
Called a swindler, a saint and a disturbed scientist, he was dispatched
in 1929 to Borley Rectory, the 'most haunted place in England'.
He developed ghost-detecting equipment which is quite similar to
that found at the Surnateum, albeit with some notable differences.
He was shown a photograph of a ghost at Beersel castle (in Belgium) in 1939,
but was unable to find any sign of trick photography or to give
any plausible scientific explanation.
Punx: Ludwig Hanemann
(27 October 1907 - 11 February 1996) Forerunner, along with Tony
Charles Cameron, Bob Lynn, Tony Andruzzi and the Collector, of a
movement known as 'Bizarre Magick' which brings together various
forms of magic to create various forms of enchantment. His main
work, "Setzt Euch zu meinen Füssen" was translated
into English as "Magical Adventures and Fairy Tales" and
explores the lands of the Dream and how to bring back the magic
enchantment found in those lands to the real world. His works are
essential reading and are taught to the Surnateum's Storytellers.
A series of seven booklets was published under the name "Experimente
mit dem Überraum" and translated into English as "Fourth
Dimensional Mysteries" and "Farewell Performance".
Ability to move objects by the mind alone. One example would be
switching off the television from a distance without using the remote
control as soon as Céline Dion comes on. This example would
be called 'telekinesis'. At present, no Sensitive has been able
to do more than move a small piece of furniture or twist a spoon
intelligence quotient, an alleged measurement of intelligence. The
average IQ is 100 for a normal individual. Individuals scoring between
70 and 100 generally like football and Céline Dion. At scores
of over 110, reading and culture become part of the individual's
vocabulary. At scores above 180, the individual understands that
IQ has nothing to do with intelligence, but only measures the ability
to pass the stupid test invented by a notorious swindler (Binet)
who himself tampered with test findings on twins to prove his genetic
theory of intelligence.
Jean/John Flanders: Raymond
Jean Marie de Kremer (De Kremer, Raymondus Joannes Maria), born
in the Ham district of Ghent, Belgium
on 8 July 1887. He began writing under the pseudonyms of Jean Ray
and John Flanders and was published in various student magazines
in and around 1908-1910.
While pursuing an administrative career, he published his first
book - Le Livre des Fantômes (The Book of Ghosts)-
at the age of 38. This was followed by a plethora of adventure,
detective and imaginative novels and short stories, of which his
masterpiece is, in our opinion, Malpertuis.
In parallel with his life as a writer and civil servant, Jean Ray
travelled the oceans of the imagination on a variety of pirate ships
and phantom vessels. Nicknamed 'Tiger Jack' by the Rum-Row bootleggers,
he did not shy away from starting countless brawls in the sordid
dives and drinking joints of the far-flung corners of the world.
Following an unfortunate incident that led to his spending some
time in prison, the master from Ghent fell into oblivion . He was
rediscovered in 1961 by Editions Marabout, which published 25
Histoires Noires et Fantastiques ('25 Black and Fantastic Tales').
From that time on he was a phenomenal success. Unfortunately, he
did not have much time to enjoy his success
for he died on 17 September 1964 at the age of 77. For more information
about this extraordinary author, we can only recommend this
site, currently the best on the Web.
Rule of Movements:
When querying talismans and pantacles, the Rule
of Movements requires that a harmonic order
be followed when moving objects with respect to the
talisman. Once the talisman has been correctly queried,
the interpretation of the replies can begin. Each talisman has its
own rules. This knowledge is handed down
during the seventh level of studies pursued by Sensitives.
Rhine, Joseph Banks
(1895-1980): In 1927, Dr J. B. Rhine, a botanist, launched
a series of experiments in psychic
phenomena at the Department of Psychology at Duke University in the
United States. His interest in the paranormal dated back to a
meeting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle following
one of Conan Doyle's
lectures. With the help of his wife,
biologist Louisa E. Rhine and Dr William
Mc Dougall, head of the Department of Psychology at the university, he set about testing
a huge number of subjects and
accumulating a mass of information on the unknown
powers of the mind. When he officially
created the Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory in 1935, his work had already received
in the United States. He invented the
term 'extrasensory perception'. His first
experiments used a pack of cards bearing five different symbols (circle, cross, wavy
lines, square and star) designed for
him by his colleague, Dr Karl Zener. In 1962, Rhine moved his laboratory
out of the university and founded the Foundation
for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM), a private organisation supported by Duke University but
independent of it. J.B.
Rhine is known today as the man who proved the existence
of paranormal phenomena . Like the Collector,
Rhine did not 'believe' in bizarre phenomena, he simply demonstrated
An individual gifted with a special sensitivity to the invisible and
with some sort of 'paranormal' ability. At the Institute, Sensitives
learn to master their gift and to conceal it from others.
There are nine levels of proficiency at the Institute. To become
a Storyteller, the Sensitive must have reached the fifth level.
Those Sensitives who go beyond the fifth
level are able to access their
unconscious and subconscious.
The abilities found among Surnateum
staff include: telepathy, empathy, telekinesis, and above all the
art of finding parking spaces in cities
such as Paris, London and Brussels.
The greater the Sensitive's sensitivity, the more difficult it is
for him or her to remain in contact with the outside world.
Zetetics and vampires are the
sworn enemies of the Sensitive.
The Sensitive is able to correctly spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
after reading it just once.
The Sensitive never feels superior to the layman,
but does feel a great sadness in seeing
them missing out on such an incredibly rich universe.
Shiels, Tony 'Doc'
(Salford, England 1938- ): Forerunner of the 'bizarre magick' movement
(see Punx), author of '13!', 'Daemons, Darklings and Döppelgangers',
'The Shiels Effect', 'And Then They Were Three', 'Bizarre' and 'The
Cantrip Codex'. He performed as a worker of miracles and tamer of monsters
in travelling carnivals and was one of the first to photograph the Loch Ness monster,
affectionately known as 'Nessie'. As a Sensitive, he possessed the extremely
curious power of being able to dissolve clouds and read omens in
a glass of Guinness. In a bid to lure the monster, his daughter Cait Sith, a renowned
witch, went swimming nude in Loch Ness in 1976, along with a number
of other similarly unclothed witches. Sadly, they
only managed to attract more tourists.
Songlines: In Australia, the travels
of the ancestor spirits in the Dream World (Alcheringa) are recorded
various sacred places that trace the path of an ancestor in
a dreaming as it moves around Australia,
recreating the landscapes, flora and
fauna found there. The travels of one of these
- the Rainbow Snake - is shared by many aboriginal communities throughout
Australia. A songline is sung at a speed of around 5 km/h, so that
the individual on the move will not get lost. These
paths are only travelled
by other travellers who share the same song and therefore
to the same clan. The very oldest aborigines know virtually all
the Dreamsongs and can therefore travel throughout Australia without getting lost. This concept is fundamental in understanding the link
between the Dream World and the so-called 'real' world.
Montague (1880-1948): Alphonsus Joseph
Mary Augustus Montague Summers was a fascinating and sometimes disturbing
individual. His two works - The vampire, his kith and kin
and The vampire in Europe (1928-1929) - secured his reputation
as the leading authority on vampirism in the 20th century. He was
fond of walking with a cane whose silver knob represented Leda and
the swan. His high-pitched voice contrasted strangely with his talent
for telling fantastic stories. For his entire life, he adored surrounding
himself with an aura of mystery. He had a vast knowledge
of the occult. After reading theology
at Oxford, he sought to take holy orders
by studying at Lichfield Theological
College and subsequently entered as an
apprentice at the diocese of Bitton, near Bristol. One year later,
he made an about-face and converted to Catholicism,
announced that he had been appointed to
the priesthood and had people address him as 'reverend'. Obsessed
by sorcery and vampirism, he was suspected of dabbling in
occultism. His erudition on the subject was phenomenal.
He was a Sensitive with highly
refined abilities, and 1938
he met the deputy of the bishop of Ghent,
His Eminence Van Rechem, a key player in the investigation
that we refer to as 'Rhesus
Expression used by Mary Poppins
in the book by P.L. Tavers and in the Disney
animated film. Not to be confused with 'Supercalifragilistisexpialidocious', a much more pernicious word
and a common misspelling made by bogus Sensitives.
Spelling this word properly is a basic test for Sensitives at the Institute.
of Supernatural History... but you've
probably started to figure that out by now, haven't you?
the Arabic tilasm): Symbol of
protection from the evil eye, the talisman
is a magic formula, a prayer or a sura written on parchment, wood, metal, stone or leather;
it is supposed to protect the individual or his home from
demons. The talisman is often placed in a
talisman holder and worn around the neck or on the arm. Originally, during the
pre-Islamic period, tattoos served the
same function and had the advantage of being permanent.
They lend themselves well to many coded games, since the letters can
replace figures, which themselves can be mixed around or read
backwards. Talismans and pantacles (not
to be confused with 'pentacles', which
imply the number 5) can be inscribed in
geometric shapes that enhance their magic power.
In Arabia, one goes to a teacher of the
Koran or an imam to have amulets made. In Ethiopia, these duties are
performed by the dabtara. A trained
'magician' can consult a talisman or a
pantacle, provided that he possesses the
objects needed to query it and applies the Rule of Movements
applicable to the talisman
Telepathy: Ability to read the
thoughts of others. This ability is not
very useful given the very limited number of subjects who actually
think for themselves and who are capable of forming an original
thought. An elementary form of this gift
are the 0'tells' exploited in games such as poker and blackjack by intuitives and professional gamblers.
Three degrees of telepathy have been found in Sensitives:
the ability to send a message to a receiving subject; the ability to
receive a message, i.e. read the mind of someone else; and the
ability to both send and receive. Generally speaking, a person able to send messages can only
be received by an individual capable of receiving telepathic
of the study of freaks and monsters.
Terma (Tibetan treasures):
In Tibetan Buddhism, Terma is a word
designating sacred and religious texts hidden in secret
places to be discovered at a later date when the time is right by individuals
capable of understanding and enriching these texts.
This has been common practice for centuries in India. Mahayana
('Great Vehicle') Buddhism is based on a text entitled The Sutra
of the Heart of Wisdom, handed down by the Buddha himself at Nagarjuna
by the Nagas, the Snake Spirits.
The Nyingmapas hold the largest collection
of occult and magical knowledge of this kind, the most important
writings of which differ from those of Padmasambhava
and his consort Dakini Yeshe Tsogyel. The two most important texts are those which tell the life
story of Padmasambhava and the Bardo Thödol (the
Tibetan book of the dead). The most important Terma at the Surnateum
is the Liber
masters of the treasure): Guru Padmasambhava
hid many teachings in the form of spiritual
treasures in such places
as lakes, forests and caves. They are to be discovered
when the time is right (see Terma).
Once his disciples attained liberation,
they would reincarnate themselves, find the Treasures and propagate
their teaching throughout the world in a bid to liberate the human
race. These reincarnated disciples are called Tertons. They receive
the vision or signs indicating how to find these treasures, and if
the treasure is not physical but mental, the Terton
rediscovers this wisdom within himself.
These masters have emerged over the centuries and even into
our own time. Two Tertons
are associated with the Surnateum
and the Institute. Their identity is one of the great secrets of the
Timkat (epiphany): Ethiopian holy feast
celebrated at the beginning of the year on
or around 19
January, and during which the Tabots
(representations of the ark of the covenant) or copies
thereof are paraded around the town for the adoration of
Totem: In traditional societies,
an object, species of animal or plant, or natural phenomenon to
which a child is linked by dream and ritual.
The first totem found in Alcheringa
is the form in which the Sensitive will travel through Alcheringa
before finding others that he must either fight or use.
Aggressive demons are often the buried fears that the individual
must overcome before crossing through the gateway into the Dream
World. The Totem
must be respected. Often, the Sensitive wears a piece of jewellery
or a sign connecting him with his Totem(s).
Trance: Modified state of consciousness
in which the shaman can travel in the
spirit world and communicate with the
spirits. The trance can be conscious and controlled,
or can become possession, as is the case in Haitian voodoo. The
mental state of Johnny Hallyday is not a genuine
trance but closer to that of a zombie.
Trickster: A chaotic spirit/entity/loa
present in all mythologies. The
trickster destroys any ideas of order and
permanence, and as such is essential to
the functioning of a society or group. Christian
missionaries often confused him with the devil. May be associated
with Hermes/Mercury in Greco-Roman mythology. The current
Curator will never forget
a certain experience he had...
Retro satanas: "Vade Retro Satanas Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana
Sunt Mala Que Libas Ipse Venena Bibas" "Withdraw, Satan,
do not inspire me with empty things. The drink you offer is evil.
Drink your poisons yourself". A phrase used in exorcism and
the first lesson taught to Sensitives working in the Surnateum's
Department of Sorcery and Invocations. Must be said in Latin with
a certain amount of energy in order to be effective. The phrase
was inscribed on one side of the medallion of Saint Benoît sold
by the abbey of Maredsous.
Arminius (1832-1913 ): Arminius
or Hermann, professor of oriental
languages at the University of Pesth (from 1865
to 1905) and a great traveller in Asia
Minor. He travelled to Armenia and Persia
disguised as a pilgrim. In the 1880s,
he met Bram
Stoker at the Beefsteacks Company in London and
reportedly had an impact on Stoker's Dracula.
An expert in Hungarian mythology, he met
1899 and gave him enough information for him to continue
He described his travels in The
Story of My Struggles,
the Memoirs of Arminius Vambery, T. Fisher Unwin, London
Vampire: A 'mythical' creature
when it takes the form of
'Dracula' or ''Nosferatu',
the vampire is a kind of black hole, a
predator, a soulless individual who needs the psychic and vital
energy of others in order to survive. Thirsty for power and extremely sly,
he makes sure he is always surrounded by a court whose lives he
literally 'eats away'. He can be found on
all committees, in all administrative bodies, at all clubs and
places where he can throw his weight around.
He is, by his very nature, the sworn and mortal enemy of the
Sensitive, who can detect his presence very quickly.
In his most advanced form, some physical changes become apparent.
More widespread than the Sensitive in a proportion of 100
to 1, you will certainly come across one
or more on a daily basis. A personal
object that has belonged to one of these creatures is charged with
an evil 'aura'.
A recent study has shown that people working in places
infested with vampires have a life expectancy that is five years
less than people who don't. Anyone working in close proximity to these creatures has a
much lower life expectancy.
A highly vigorous religion which originated in West and Central
Africa (Fon/Yoruba/Congo) and developed in
the Caribbean. It combines elements of Vodun,
Christianity, Black Code and freemasonry. Called vaudou in Haiti and
voodoo in New Orleans,
it goes by the names of Santeria, Lukumi
and Regla de Ocha in Cuba,
and Candomblé and Umbanda
in Brazil. Most of the entities present in the Hauntiques have an equivalent in
the voodoo pantheon, which explains
why the Surnateum
staff are so interested in this religion.
or yah (rock, stone)
teh (animal): A mythical creature living in Nepal/Tibet
and the subject of many legends.
Zetetics (Greek zetein to seek):
In Antiquity, zetetics was the method used to penetrate to the reason
of things. It is the rejection of any and all dogmatic affirmations,
an approach which the staff at the Foundation for the Exploration
of Dreams and the Surnateum agree wholeheartedly.
Unfortunately, these days the term is associated with
a group of individuals trying dogmatically to prove that their extreme
rationalism is the only possible vision of the world. They try to
that Dreaming is an impossible thing,
that they possess the absolute truth and that their so-called intelligence
means that they are supermen! In a bid to prove their pitiful
utterances, they generally team up with fifth-rate
illusionists who are so desperate
to make a comeback that they publicly
explain the workings of feats of prestidigitation
that they themselves have not even created.
The zetetic is the enemy of the Sensitive
because he is secretly jealous of his
ability to use his imagination.
Zombie: See Johnny
A - B
- C - D - E -
F - G - H - I
- J - K - L -
M - N - O - P
- Q - R - S -
T - U - V - W
- X - Y - Z